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Hi,

 

It has been puzzling me for a long time. Does anyone know the reasons why Ofsted notify schools and childminders of their impending visits but nurseries and Pre-schools are not. Surely it should be a fair system for all.

 

Thanks

Scottiedog

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Well they notify childminders in order to make sure they will be there and are childminding on the day in question.

 

Why they notify schools I have no idea. Our local first school had 9 days notice of their last inspection as it went over half term. The staff were in every day of the break preparing for it.

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Well they notify childminders in order to make sure they will be there and are childminding on the day in question.

 

Why they notify schools I have no idea. Our local first school had 9 days notice of their last inspection as it went over half term. The staff were in every day of the break preparing for it.

 

The official notification is 2 working days--so you can be called first thing on Monday for Wednesday etc.

 

Schools have to send timetables etc to the Inspector to allow the team to arrange observations and interviews. LEA people have to be informed to allow them to come and support their schools, as required. Governors are notified as they are often involved. Parent questionnaires go out. Heads are often interviewed at length by phone by the inspector after notification too.

 

It can be a very stressful experience.

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Same at our local school, I had never seeen such a hive of activity, staff were in until almost midnight every day! Also, the staff usually only have one person to take the children to the sports hall, which is across a field and a road...........but when Ofsted were in, they had three or four adults, , who each had a mobile phone ( for emergencies), a clipboard ( all the children's contact details) name badges and passkeys for the school and a large first aid box! Also, the park where the children play is usually 'manned' by three dinner ladies, but when the O people were in, they had eight, all deployed at proper, spaced gaps to keep a good watch over the children, instead of their usual huddle by a side gate. The afternoon that Ofsted left, everything returned to 'normal'!

But I agree, everyone should be treated the same, childminders included: we should all get notice, or none

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Having experienced the 6 week notice, the 2 day notice and the no notice, give me no notice any day. See me as I am, warts and all!

 

Schools get more notice (usually 2 days unless over a weekend) because generally they are larger institutions and have to 'interview' formally certain people, which involves taking them out of class, or getting in governors etc. Cover often needs to be provided for these interviews, which may have to be booked in advance. (not all schools carry 'floating 'staff in the event of sickness or emergency). School inspections often take at least 2 days and 2 inspectors (my last one was 4!) as there is such a lot of information to be gathered, wheras many of the settings I support who have been inspected recently have lasted a morning only. (one or two rooms often as opposed to 14 separate classes for example).

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If it was the same for all then 2 day inspections for everyone then?!

 

A school is not just the EYFS - therefore they are inspected under the section 5 rules of whichever act of parliament rather than the section which covers EYFS provision. The section 5 inspection covers quite a bit more if you compare the two different schedules. They are not the same inspection!!

 

The inspector contacts the school 2 days before hand to get any SEF, data and other documents required.This is requested as soon as the schol are told. They then use the 2 days to prepare their inspection trail which is sent to the school by close of play before the inspection starts. This is a key reason why - the inspectors must prepare, access Raiseonline to interrogate the KS data and all other Dfe data related to the school.

CC inspections get notice for the same reasons. Given that they are inspecting 3 key stages this would seem reasonable.

 

Our local first school had 9 days notice of their last inspection as it went over half term. The staff were in every day of the break preparing for it.

This is highly unusual and there must be a very good reason for it. Ofsted would know the term dates and generally this is not how they operate. Schools may get the call on a friday for the following weds as this constitutes 2 working days notice but equally they get the call on monday for weds.

 

Cx

Edited by catma
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When my daughter's school was inspected recently the head told the lead inspector that they weren't putting on a show for the inspection, but they would see it as it always was. The inspector replied by asking how they managed to get all staff working on a Sunday night at 8pm? He had driven down the previous night to make sure he knew where he was going and the car park was full as all the staff were in preparing!

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well I suppose we all have things we want to do but don't get the time to do - there's never enough hours in a day are there, especially when you have so many children in a class.......and then when Ofsted call we just make the time where we can.It's only human nature. You can't paper over obvious cracks in that length of time however. I've been through plenty of inspections and the inspectors generally know when something is shiny and new.

 

Cx

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humm scottiedog this is also a question i have also asked ....often! i understand all of what has been said about schools but from a personal point of view a previous inspection for us (pre-school ) was unannounced. I had two inspectors for 2 full days, i am a working supervisor and in ratio...i had to come out of the group to answer their questions, leaving the floor under ratio...at one time the two inspectors were asking questions to 2 members of staff leaving me with all the children! i also have to poduce paperwork for them including a long and detailed sef(which they didn't look at but asked me all the questions about!) they also gave questionnaires to parents and stood outside questioning them for some time. i wont go on but it was not a good experience...so much so that we complained and were re-inspected (long story!) anyway i completely agree it should be one rule for all otherwise how can it be a fair and just system. It also relies on the inspectors and their philosophy and whether this matches your own...severel inspectors we've had over the years have never been in an early years setting.

oh and by the way our governing body (committee or trustees ) are often asked to be there also ...with no notice!

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I do feel the no notice inspections are better, but wonder if it should be for all not part of the sector..

 

having worked in a preschool when advance notice was given and everything changed for the inspection days.. it was not picked up and hey had extra staff and all sorts of changes just for that day.. it was amazing .. so easy to do and get a good result

 

and also been in a preschool with a no notice inspection and having the issue of being counted in ratio but the inspector wanting to chat to me, and other staff, hence taking us out of ratio, they wanted to see the committee and chairperson who was in full time work , so unable to get there, and they expected us to call her, she was a TA in a school so no way we could do that!

 

So the same issues arise with no notice inspections, no cover and paperwork needing to be found and explained with no preparation of it.. they are often smaller and it can have a huge impact on the day.

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I own a Pre-school and having been through many Ofsteds - with notice and without - I think that no notice is the right way. Probably most settings put out best equipment etc., and have extra staff, if they know there is going to be an inspection - as Mundia says - "see me as I am" is how it should be.

The last inspection was overdue by about 6 months and every morning I woke up and thought "Is it going to be today" and by 10.am when they hadn't arrived, I then thought "Oh, no, not another day gone and no inspection!!". I just wanted to get it done and dusted - the stress was awful. All my paperwork was to hand, my SEF was up to date and we were all thoroughly prepared but the long wait was such an anxious time for all staff. On the morning, a parent came into the Pre-school and said "I think you have an inspection today, there's a lady talking to some of the parents outside and she has a clipboard and laptop bag" - so in fact we had about 5 minutes notice !!! :o She only "inspected" for about 3/4 of a morning - she said that as all paperwork was to hand and she had read the SEF beforehand, that really saved time. There were lots of photos on display and there's an album in the book corner with both past and present children for all to see -she could see what activities we had done over the year.

 

Sue J

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As a childminder I get a phone call asking whether I will be childminding in the week starting XYZ.... the notice I've had for my last 2 inspections has been when the Inspector has been parked on my drive when I've got back from the school run and she's said "I'll give you 5 minutes to get the children in and their coats off!"

 

So, in theory, yes, I know which week my inspection will be - except that, again, the last 2 haven't taken place that week due to the inspectors being ill.

 

Ofsted say the reason Childminders get this notice is that due to the nature of our role we're not often home all day.... nursery, school, pre-school drop-offs and pickups. It led to a lot of wasted hours for the Inspectors and also counted against the childminder - a card was left saying they'd called and if you weren't available when they next visited a satisfactory was the highest outcome you'd get. Similarly, if you have no minded children present you cannot be graded good or outstanding - imagine the feeling if you get a call saying the children are ill and you know Ofsted are due!!

 

Last year I was able to stay home for the 4+ hours but previously the inspector sat outside in her car, inputting data on her laptop, while I was out for 45 minutes picking up children.

 

I DO agree though that some 'play the system'... a local childminder never uses a computer so had policies and procedures belonging to another childminder printed off to show the inspector. She also presented Learning Journey's from another childminder as her own. She was judged Outstanding :o It's common knowledge locally and has been reported to our Early Years team but they have taken no action a s it's 'hearsay' despite one of their own staff hearing said childminder laughing about it at a drop-in meeting xD

 

Nona

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It's common knowledge locally and has been reported to our Early Years team but they have taken no action as it's 'hearsay' despite one of their own staff hearing said childminder laughing about it at a drop-in meeting sad.gif

 

What would an LA do though.....they can't change the grading and it's Ofsted's decision to give the grade. How would you prove this after the event?

 

CCs get 3 days notice!

Prehaps the difference is that they are inspecting childcare in a setting which they are not in a school so the element of no notice is about that? Yes CMs are childcare too, but for reasons already given value for money would be raised if they kept turning up and CMs were out. They also do no notice inspections in schools that are in a category, or at least give a window of expectancy like they do elsewhere.

 

Cx

Edited by catma
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I lead the early years and have been part of both inspections. The drop in was by far the best way and what you see is definetely what you get. We got 'outstanding'and felt it was real. We had a school based ofsted and too got graded 'outstanding' which pleased us but the nervous tension in the two days leading up to it was very stressful and not needed as in the 'drop in'. Everyone should have a drop in, getting information as they go one, schools wouldnt get time to put on a show etc.

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